Name: Kwaku Frimpong
Originated From: The Bronx, NY
Undergrad Institution: Providence College – Go Friars!
Major: Double major: Marketing & Finance
Job Before Booth: Ad Sales Account ExecutivE @ intersection Media
Job After Booth: Brand Management at PepsiCo – Sports & Fitness Business Unit
okay…now for the good stuff:
Prior To Booth
I was born and raised in the Bronx , NY. My parents immigrated from Ghana. I was raised in a West African household, but grew up in a melting pot – exposed to West African, Caribbean and Latin American cultures. We were all lower-middle class and didn’t have a lot, but we didn’t really know what we didn’t have, so life was fun.
In the 5th grade, I was awarded a spot in the Reach program, an academic enrichment program that takes underprivileged students and helps prepare them to apply to top high schools in New York. During my summer vacations we would go to the University of Scranton and do schoolwork, living in a dorm for three weeks away from home. I got to meet other smart kids boroughs all over the city like Brooklyn, Harlem and Queens. Not only did it teach me how to be a man for others and to strive for excellence, but it gave me the opportunity to go to a great high school – which was a big deal for me. The program is still very active and I sit on their board today -they gave a 1st generation kid like me a chance to succeed that I wouldn’t have necessarily had without them.
Growing up playing sports in New York made me a people person, it helped shape my career path. You had to know how to talk to people – no two people were the same. In our Ghanian household you would hear Twi being spoken, Ghanian music being played, Ghanian food on the stove, but outside of those walls I’m hearing rap and Reggeaton with all of my friends speaking different dialects. I was the only black kid in my graduating class, so I had to have multiple identities. Nevertheless, I would see a lot people around me stuck in similar situations – jails, pregnancies and deaths were all very normal in my world. I made a promise to myself that I would necer be in a position where I was stuck. I knew the world was bigger – I needed to get out of New York State.
Like many immigrants, education was super important to my parents. They didn’t go to college, which makes me a 1st generation college student. I didn’t know very many college, but I watched the Big East basketball tournament and luckily got a scholarship into one. I was awarded an MLK full scholarship to Providence College and it was on of the best days of my life. I got to run track and field for them, and realized that I wanted to do something that interacted with people, but I knew that I wanted to learn some foundations of business with finance.
After college, I moved back to New York and worked in bond research for two years. I realized that finance was not the industry for me, which led me to pursue marketing more directly. This brought me to Intersection media where I worked with companies and industries that I was interested in. At the time, my partner Samantha was starting graduate school at UIC. I was doing really well at Intersection, and inquired about a job promotion in Chicago. They told me that they had a place for me and I was ecstatic that I was wanted. I would’ve never left New York city and stuck in my comfort zone if it wasn’t for Sam.
When I moved to Chicago, I became a sports and education expert working with: USA Soccer, the Big 10, the Big East, the Bulls, the Bears, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, NY City Football Club, Loyola, Notre Dame and CPS schools. I loved the space, but I was only touching one side of marketing – the promotional side. I wanted to be a more strategic marketer, be around sports and talk to people that came from communities like mine. I love sports and got to play D1 sports, but I wanted to be a marketer that promotes and shares health benefits of eating certain positive foods and will enhance your athletic, life and everyday performance whether your arena be the sports field or the dog park or hanging out with your kids. I want to own an entire piece of that business and fuel people to be the best version of themselves. And that brought me to Booth.
If You Didn’t Have To Work What Would You Do:
Learn 2 or 3 languages, travel and have great food, drink natural wine, watch and play a lot of sports
Do You Think That Aliens Exist?
Nah – I don’t think they exist
Currently Reading / Listening to:
The Mamba Mentality: How I Play by Kobe Bryant
I’m a big podcast guy so my list is long:
What do you think made you unique in the MBA application process?
I call it irrational confidence. What I mean by that is – I may not have had a traditional background, or an ivy league school pedigree – but I’m always confident that if I walked into a room that I would represent myself as if I had all of that. Fake it ’till you make it. Maybe it’s the salesman in me?
Favorite Place To Eat In Chicago:
Canton Regio – Pilsen (cash only)
The Bento Box Chicago
What App Needs To Be Made:
An app that scans anything you like and will show you a product similar in your budget.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY THAT SOMEONE CAN SPEND THEIR TIME?
Doing something that is challenging them to be better, to get out of their comfort zone
Favorite Disney Movie:
What’s The Hardest Lesson You’ve Learned Thus Far?
Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard
Favorite Booth Memory Thus Far:
Random Walk Morocco – Getting to have first impressions of my new classmates and ending up making amazing new friends.
Turn up at Tao All-Star Weekend, not just with my Boothies – but with all the NBA all-stars
What Location Is At The Top Of Your Travel Bucket List?
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Ivory Coast
- The Phillipines
- Lagos, Nigeria (even though I’m Ghanaian I,m dying to go – I’ve gotta see what’s up)
- Toronto, Canada
What Job Would You Be Terrible At :
What Is Special About The Place You Grew Up?
The Bronx! It’s gritty, but it’s beautiful at the same time because it’s a melting pot of so many cultures. Every day you’re going to learn a new life lesson – whether it’s something you want to learn, or don’t want to learn – you’ll learn something new everyday. No one is going to sugar cast shit for you – tough love is real.
What did you do this summer?
Brand Management intern with Pepsico working on the Propel brand. The people and the talent in organization is unreal. There are a lot of high caliber people who live by a work hard, play hard culture. I left every day feeling like “I got better today” – iron sharpening iron. Having the opportunity to work on real problems that effect people daily was great. Also – mad swag. I got a package like eery day. It was a lot of fun, even though it was virtual.
What Age Do You Want To Live Until:
100 – at least. My Grandma and Grandpa both lived to be 100!
If you could live anywhere, where would You Live?
London – I could get the accent
What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
Why Lebron James is the greatest player of all time
What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?
I want my kids to be proud of me – I want them to be proud of their dad.
What DO you love about your partner?
I love her patience with me. I love her empathy. I love how I can see myself in her. I see a lot of myself in her, because we have a lot of common traits and beliefs. Even though our cultures are different, our foundations are very much the same. And – I love the love that she shows our dog Chance.
What Do You Wish You Knew More About:
The Ghanian Economy
What Fictional Place Do You Dream Of Going To?
How Will The World Be Different Post COVID-19?
More work from home. More flexibility.
What Is Worth Splurging On Everytime?
What Is Your Favorite Sneaker That You Own?
Travis Scott 1’s
How Will You Make Your Life A “Good Life”?
I want my kids to have the opportunity to do the things that I couldn’t do as a kid and the tools to succeed. Then I’ll feel like I lived a good life. I don’t even have kids yet, but I think about them a lot.
Most Memorable Gift That You’ve Ever Received?
Samantha got me a framed photo of Kumasi, Ghana – the city that my dad grew up in. It has some historic facts on it and i just love it, it really hit home for me.
My second favorite gift is my college track jersey that my high school coach gave me.
What Lifestyle Changes Are You Trying To Make?
Trying to stop eating cookies every night. I eat Levain cookies every night.
If Magic Was Real, Which Spell Would You Try First?
Time Travel. Go back in time.
What Do You Think Makes A Good Friend – How Much Do You Live Up To Your Standards?
Selflessness, loyalty and accountability – friends have to keep it 100.
I give myself a 9 on loyalty, 7 on accountability, 7 on selflessness. In business school I’ve become a little bit more selfish, so there’s definitely room for improvement.
What Do You Want To Get Out Of B-School?
Frameworks that I can apply in life and in my career + a new set of friendships that will last a long time.
Best Trip Of Your Life Thus Far:
Euro trip with my best friends from high school. We backpacked through Belgium, Amsterdam, german and Czech Republic. Prague in 10 days. It was awesome.
Who Do You Go Out Of Your Way To Be Nice To?
My dog, Chance
What Really Makes You Angry?
When I’m losing in any fantasy sport
Favorite Candy / Snack:
Hershey’s Cookies and Cream
What Industry Do You Think Will Be Revolutionized Soon?
Sports Private equity
What Would Your Last Meal Be?
A whole pie of pizza from Arturos in NY City – 1/2 pepperoni, 1/2 meatball and ricotta cheese. All for me
How Would You Describe Your Booth Experience:
Rewarding, Regressions & Reinvigorating
It’s hard to describe. It’s almost like coming to Booth has given me a new bolt of energy. It gave me my mojo back. I haven’t been this excited since high school – where I truly felt like I was the best version of myself. I’m becoming the better version of myself – I’m leaving improved.
What Is The Most Baller ThinG That you’ve Ever Done?
Buy my younger brother his Macbook Pro laptop for college.